To celebrate the Chinese New Year on Thursday (February 19), Claire Davies visited an unsung restaurant in the heart of town
In my role as food writer with YorkMix I aim to share a number of smaller local gems that can be easily missed in our busy schedules. In my eyes, The Happy Valley Chinese fits this description perfectly.
As an office worker based in the city centre my husband visits once a week, and it was he who recommended the lunch time special, comprising of two courses for £7.25.
Residing in Our Lady’s Row, Goodramgate, The Happy Valley does not immediately strike you as a Chinese restaurant.
Were it not for the menu boards propped outside, the whitewash walls and open wood beams would trick any visitor in to believing that it was a quant, English tearoom which stood before them. This impression continues as you head inside.
Smacked in the chops
The Happy Valley, inside and out. Click to see a bigger image
The décor is simple and clean. I was seated quickly and provided with both the standard and the appropriate set menu options.
After a brief perusal I ordered the hot and sour soup to start, followed by king prawn satay with fried rice. A glass of tap water and a pot of loose leaf Jasmine tea (£1.80) provided the liquid refreshment.
My first course arrived promptly and steaming hot. The smell alone enough to get the taste buds smarting, the first spoonful hit me square in the chops with all the zest and spicy heat I would expect from a hot and sour soup.
It was delicious and over all too soon. It filled the purpose of a first course perfectly and left me wanting more.
The friendly, efficient staff cleared the way for the second course as I sipped on my Jasmine tea – the floral, gentle flavour an excellent foil to the heat of the previous dish.
Happy Valley food and drink… Click to see a bigger image
Pretty soon my king prawn satay was laid out, accompanied by a small dish of fried rice. This was a light, nutty sauce packed with crunchy stir fried peppers and a generous portion of superbly cooked prawns.
The portions were ideal for a daytime meal, leaving me full but not overwhelmed.
In summary, The Happy Valley Chinese is an excellent value restaurant offering honest, freshly cooked food.
The staff are helpful and want customers to have a positive experience. This is evidenced by the nice touch of padding some of the lower overhanging beams so that people like me don’t hurt themselves when not paying attention on the way out.
Value for money
Total bill – lunch for one: £9.05
Where and when
Fri & Sat Noon-10.30pm